Were you taught to write in cursive at school?

Sue Sanders, lived in Kansas City, MOAnswered Apr 29

Yeah, for sure. Printing first, cursive a few years later. Samples of the printed capitals and lower case were always posted along the circumference of the room and we used Big Chief specially lined tablets for practice. As here:

Note the dotted line separating lower case letters that didn’t extend into the upper or out-of-bounds areas. Looks easy. Not so much when your brain and motor skills are newbies to the task.

Samples of the cursive alphabet were also posted around the room when the time came for that sort of advancement. Notice the similarities between one and the other:

The cursive is more “artistic”, but a main concern is that it provided an easier way to join one letter to another. Writing in print style requires that you lift your hand a bit after each letter; cursive is (usually) one mix of hand actions connected till the end of the word.

When we were of the age to learn cursive, our “puff-up” attitudes took hold. I mean, our parents and aunts and uncles wrote this way, and so cursive represented a “coming of age”. (In truth, I’m just trying to speak for the multitudes; I really didn’t give a shit at the time.)

Note that this was a long, long - repeat LONG - time ago. Education was more liberal but also more structured, a true oxymoron. Politics had little to do with how a teacher organized her (once in a while “his”) class regarding specific goals and congressional dictates. A teacher knew what the next grade level would require we had been taught in order to move on, and that’s what we learned.

From the time we learned cursive, though, it was imperative we always use cursive except in very exceptional circumstances. Art class was pretty much free-wheeling, but history and English and science, etc., were set in their ways. If you printed your answers to a quiz, a red-lettered “WHAT?” might end up on the same page.

Interesting that now, and for a couple of decades past, it hasn’t mattered what form of writing a student prefers, especially with the advent of computer writing. But I need to say that cursive writing, with a hand and a pencil or pen, is an art that’s becoming a lost child, and this should not be the case. In the (maybe unlikely) event that all technology is wiped out (don’t be naive, children), you’ll need to fall back upon the “old ways,” involving printing or cursive or sending out messages via smoke signals.

Z Gottlieb, Author of scifi ebook at The United States of America

I was taught cursive writing in school because I am of that generation. Educators need to reconsider the decision to teach children cursive writing. Studies show that child can type more when they have a keyboard to input information. However, they remember more when they write their notes. If the students are not allowed to use their laptops to take notes, they often have trouble keeping up only knowing print.

Recently studies show that the number of students that can read and do math proficiently is well below 50%. Granted there are a number of factors distracting the students, but educators may need to go back to basics to change this. This may include teaching the students cursive writing.

CJ Lu Sing, Co-Founder & Writer at The Boring Blog

Since my elementary school was one that promoted more traditional practices, we were taught to write in cursive and we were actually taught to do so in a daily penmanship class.

We took the course in third grade, and it was taught throughout a timespan of a few months. I would often get average grades in that class, my handwriting wasn’t messy but my teacher didn’t like many of us.

I haven’t used it regularly since graduating eighth grade, where we were required to use it for every assignment. However, despite being out of practice I find that I have blended in elements of cursive into my regular handwriting.

Here is a sample of my cursive handwriting:

Abhishree Verma, studied at DAV Public School, Jasola Vihar, New Delhi (2018)

Yes. I was taught cursive in grade 3 and it was a typical American method where you'd have a grip on your pencil with a proper method to hold and write.

Alexander EwellAnswered Apr 29

Yes. In third grade. We only used it in the context of learning cursive, but were warned that it would be used exclusively on fourth grade. It was not, but we were warned it would be used exclusively in fifth grade. Every grade said the one above it would use it exclusively only for me to get to high school where teachers complained that no one taught cursive any more and asked us how we expected sign papers as opposed to teaching those who didn’t know it an alternative.

George Bertram, works at Adrey Associates

No. I was instructed to repeat a certain pattern that the teacher drew on the board. Since I didn’t have any idea how to properly hold and move a pen or pencil at this point, my results did not look as they should have. So I had to stay after school and repeat the exercises multiple times. Can I write cursive? Yes. Is it readable? Barely. Is is the stylish, efficient form of writing it could be? Ha! Haha! *bursts out laughing which fades off into sobs.

Jack Shephard, Software Engineer


I think people underrate the importance of learning cursive. It’s not only about actually knowing how to write with fancy curved letters, it is more about familiarizing with handling a pencil; which is a pretty important knowledge for your whole academic career.

Lance Gifford, Global Strategic Sourcing Manager at A Fortune 100 Company

I was. Palmer method. Teachers graded on correctness and legibility of penmanship. My cursive penmanship (never good) has deteriorated significantly in the last twenty years. I rarely write by hand anymore. When I do, I tend to block print.

Aurelia Kinglseigh, A writer that procrastinates better than George R. R Martin.

Yes! And in an American school! I actually write in cursive to this day. (Well, half cursive, half print. Depends on my mood. I’ll switch between the two sometimes mid-sentence.)

It’s actually kind of sad. Some of my teachers have asked me not to write in cursive because they were never taught and can’t read it.

Terry Vick, former Special Education Teacher (1978-2002)

Yes. There was actually a so-called penmanship class each day in grades 3 - 6. My mother saved some of those books and it was interesting to see how the lessons progressed. With the first books you began by learning the correct strokes for the letters, then there would be a page for each letter, then you progressed to putting letters together for simple words. By the final book you were copying paragraphs and poems. And yes we were graded for this class like any other. I think we need to teach cursive again . I did in my class when there was time but the emphasis on testing has pushed it to the side.

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